LONDON – The national carrier of ‘the middle earth’, Air New Zealand is preparing for a busy summer ahead and is also taking steps to protect passengers from anticipated travel plans for its travellers. Air New Zealand flights will operate over the next six months with less capacity than anticipated.
Air New Zealand released a slightly reduced schedule of 1.5% fever capacity which will apply on selected flights. As per the usual protocol, passengers who experienced a flight change will be able to receive a refund, or transfer into credit, should they be transferred to flights outside of the designated time frames provided by the airline.
The airline is working hard with its customers, and the move will see affected passengers being automatically transferred onto another flight. It will also assist those affected with onward connection flights.
Air New Zealand CEO statement
Greg Foran, Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer acknowledged that conforming to these changes will allow passengers more certainty, now that schedule changes are becoming slightly more frequent. This is also to uphold Air New Zealand’s values and reliability, as airline is committed to forging a meaningful relationship with the customers.
Greg Foran stated that: “Like many airlines around the world, we’ve been ramping up our operation at a time when Covid and the flu continue to impact the aviation industry.”
“Looking at the disruptions our customers and staff have faced over the past five weeks, we’ve made some adjustments to reduce short-notice cancellations in the months ahead. While we did factor sickness into our ramp-up plan, we’ve seen the highest rates of crew sickness in over a decade.”
“We see these challenges continuing not just for crew, but for our whole operation, and so we’re making proactive changes to address them.”
The airline’s CEO also expressed that the reduction of scheduled air New Zealand flights means that the airline will be able to have an abundance of standby crew to cover illnesses of others, which has not been possible to do so once border restrictions eased.
Greg later commented on the staff situation: “We’re pulling out all the stops to minimise disruption and provide surety for our customers over the next six months. We have rehired or brought on more than 2,000 pilots, airport staff, cabin crew, contact centre and engineers, and we’re going as fast as we can with recruitment and training.”
“We’re also exploring options to lease a crewed widebody aircraft for the busy summer period. We know customers want the Air New Zealand experience, and that’s what we want to deliver too.”
“But at the moment we’re stretched to capacity and making sure our customers are able to travel is our top priority. The lease of an additional crewed aircraft may help us achieve that.”
The airline’s domestic and international timetable show that Air New Zealand flights will be operating at 90% of pre-COVID capacity for the upcoming six months, which is a massive improvement during the lockdown years.